Universities UK: take harassment, sexual violence and hate crimes on campus seriously
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Universities UK- introduce guidelines for Universities to make their discipline process victim-centred and to administer harsher punishments for perpetrators of harassment, hate crimes and sexual violence.
Universities have a vital role in the development of its students during their time studying, as well as ensuring their health and safety. However, upon being assaulted on my University campus on the 11th March this year, I felt neither were true. A male student on a sports social violently smashed his skull into the bridge of my nose in an unprovoked attack; instantly breaking it and causing tissue damage.
My University's disciplinary process took over three and a half months to administer his punishment, which amount to: a letter of apology, a few hours of his time on an alcohol awareness course and a ban from two University bars. This was despite sufficient evidence for police to keep him in a cell overnight random pleading guilty to assault and actual bodily harm. I've been informed it's only a possibility the assault will even be used in his University reference and I had no formal way to influence it nor hear of the process's progression.
His punishment barely constitutes a slap on the wrist, especially considering at the time I was an elected Students' Union Officer, meaning the University Campus was also my place of full-time work and being on their payroll. This is compared to regular expulsions, fines and suspensions for academic misconduct such as plagiarism and forging sick notes.
My nose is scarred permanently from where the force of his skull struck the bridge of my nose, breaking the skin. It remains crooked and hooked despite it being painfully re-broken. I am waiting for further surgery to correct the damage he caused and I can still no longer breathe or smell as normal. However, the mental impact this ordeal has resulted in far exceeds the physical. It caused me to take three weeks off work, an abundance of stress, anxiety and sleepless nights; all exacerbated by the inadequate and shoddy process of punishment. My partner had to take unpaid time off work to look after me and take me to appointments and all the money spent on medication and taxi journeys is yet to be reimbursed despite my request.
Students across the country are failed by their Universities only deeming academic misconduct worthy of suspension or expulsion. Women across the country are being failed by lad culture and the consequential acts of violence it cultivates. Society as a whole is failed by violence and harrassment going unpunished.
Whilst a student, I was told students there were "the leaders of tomorrow". But if the leaders of tomorrow are being taught that they can violently assault women and not face any real consequences, what kind of tomorrow is being created?
Universities UK- introduce guidelines for Universities to make their discipline process victim-centred and able to administer far harsher punishments for harrassment, hate crimes and sexual violence.
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